When It's Normal To Feel Like An Impostor

alignment expectations vs outcomes getting back on track growth impostor syndrome self-doubt Feb 27, 2024
With Clarity & Purpose | Impostor Syndrome


Feeling like an impostor isn't a setback; it's a signpost on the path to self-discovery and growth. In this episode, we talk about surprising situations where it’s actually normal to feel like an impostor . Yanet Borrego highlights the importance of self-reflection and being true to one's core values, referencing her podcast episode "Turning Impostor Syndrome into the Self-Discovery Syndrome." She discusses four distinct scenarios when you can feel like an impostor and shares how to go through the occasional moments of impostorhood. Learn the surprising truths about this syndrome and the role it plays in one’s personal journey. Tune in now!


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When It's Normal To Feel Like An Impostor

Welcome to another episode of the show. I’m super excited because I’ll be talking about one of my favorite topics, the imposter syndrome. This is something that I see constantly, mainly in women. It’s something that with the clients I coach, we work on. There are two scenarios when it comes to imposter syndrome. The first scenario is you are constantly feeling like an imposter. I experienced this earlier on in my career, and let me tell you, it’s very uncomfortable. It’s going to lead you to an awakening.

For this context, when you are constantly feeling like an imposter, I want you to go back to one of my first episodes of the show. This was November 30th, 2021. The episode is called Turning the Imposter Syndrome into the Self-Discovery Syndrome. When you are constantly feeling like an imposter, it is not the environment or anything that you have to change. The process and journey is going inward to understand what is the thing that you truly need, what is your purpose, and how where you are, whether it’s a relationship, family, career, or health, is not aligning with your deepest values.

That’s why I say it shouldn’t be the imposter syndrome. If you are constantly feeling like it, it should be the self-discovery syndrome. Honestly, this is the most important work you are going to do for yourself. If you are constantly feeling like this, it is going inward and understanding at the deepest level what your values are and what are the things that are not aligned with you.

The imposter syndrome is like a Band-Aid label. I promise there is something within you. It can be your purpose. It can be that there is a value that is not being met that is super important for you to understand. This episode is about scenario number two. For the first scenario, if you are truly constantly feeling like an imposter, I recommend you to check out my episode published in November 2021 called Turning Imposter Syndrome into a Self-Discovery Syndrome.

This episode is about scenario number two when sometimes you feel like an imposter. That means there are stages and times in our lives when it’s normal to feel like an imposter. I want to talk about that because when we talk about feeling like an imposter, we always see it as something negative. The times that I felt like an imposter were the times when I learned the most about myself. I thank the imposter syndrome for all the inner work I’ve done with myself and the one that I help my clients with.

The Impostor Syndrome

Let’s talk about scenario number two, which is when it’s normal to feel like an imposter. Imposter syndrome is this feeling that you are not enough, not capable, not fitting in, or not belonging. It’s this fear. Sometimes, in life, when you are aligned with your purpose or your path, it is normal to feel like an imposter. It doesn’t mean that anything has to change. It means that you’re experiencing fear because you are in the right direction. You’re experiencing fear because you are growing and trying new things.

In this case that I’m talking about, fear is an excellent indicator that you are heading toward your soul’s evolution or your soul’s path because growth often feels unsafe. In order to go after your goals and in order to grow and try new things, you have to step into the unknown. The subconscious mind wants to keep you safe at all times. When it knows that you don’t understand or you cannot predict something, it freaks out. The known freaks your mind out. I want you to know that it’s normal. It happens to all of us. That is a good indicator in these moments that I’m going to describe in a second that you are in the right direction, that you’re growing towards your goals, and that you’re growing towards your dreams.


Fear is an excellent indicator that you're heading towards your soul's evolution and path.


The Yes-Hell No Framework

I have this framework. It’s a framework for decision-making in times when you feel like an imposter. It is not when you consistently feel like it, which is a separate issue. This is sometimes when you feel like it and you don’t know why. You’re freaking out because you are trying something new. This framework is to make aligned decisions, and I learned that from one of my teachers. It’s the Yes Yes Hell No framework.

We have four bodies as human beings. I’m not talking about the physical body only. We have four bodies. The first body is spiritual. The second body is emotional. The third body is mental, and then physical. That’s the right order. Sometimes, spiritually, you might feel aligned. When I invest in coaches or big programs, I’m like, “My soul is asking for this. I know I’m going to grow. I feel this is truly aligned.” When I quit corporate and decided to go full-time on coaching and speaking, I was like, “I feel it. I’m aligned. I’m congruent. Let’s go.” Spiritually, you might feel like that situation is like, “Let’s go for it.”

Mentally, you are also like, “Hiring a coach will help me get results and get there faster.” It mentally makes sense. It is like, “Transitioning from corporate to entrepreneurship will help me align to my purpose. If I hire amazing coaches and put in the effort, I’m going to make it there.” At least that’s my belief. Mentally, it makes sense. For some people, it might not make sense, but for me, it makes sense.

W hen I got to the emotional part and I quit corporate, I was like, “I’m dying. Am I doing the right thing? Am I going to make it? Will I be able to replace my amazing six-figure salary?” Emotionally, it was a hell no. Why? It is because it was something new. Even though it was aligned completely with my values and my purpose, it was something new. It was unknown. It was uncertainty. My emotional body was freaking out.

When you have a yes, yes, hell no, I always tell my clients, “You got to go for it.” If spiritually it’s a yes and you’re like, “I’m aligned. I feel it. Let’s go,” and mentally it’s a yes and you’re like, “This makes sense. Let’s go,” and emotionally, you’re like, “Don’t do it,” and it’s a hell no, this is an aligned decision. You got to go for it. I ’m going to give examples in a second.

I  remember long-term relationships that I ended and I was freaking out before. When I did it, I was happy because they were not aligned, but there were moments when I was freaking out and I was like, “Am I making the right decision?” When you are transitioning from one industry to another, from one company to another, or you’re starting a new business, it’s scary. It’s always a yes, yes, hell no. It’s a situation that is aligned with your long-term direction and your purpose, but your emotional body often freaks out because it’s out of your comfort zone. I want you to know that that’s normal.

I want you to also have specific situations that I’ve observed with myself and I’ve observed with my clients consistently. In these situations, it’s so normal to feel like an imposter. I want you to make note of these situations because I want you to predict that when fear comes, you are ready. You know in your mind that it means that you’re walking in the right direction. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go there. It doesn’t mean that you are not worthy or not enough. It’s nothing like that.

It is normal to feel like an imposter under these circumstances I’m going to mention. These are patterns that I’ve been able to see with myself and coaching clients. It happens over and over. I’m like, “Why not normalize imposter syndrome?” We always see it as something negative. If you consistently feel like an imposter, you have to do something about it. You have to go inward and understand what’s the root cause of that because constantly feeling like an imposter is not normal. I want to be very clear with that. Sometimes, feeling like an imposter under certain circumstances is normal. I promise.

With Clarity & Purpose | Impostor Syndrome


Doing Something For The First Time

Let’s go through the list of circumstances that are going to be super helpful for you. Number one, it is normal to feel like an imposter when you are about to do something for the first time. I remember the first time I tried yoga. I was like, “What is going on? What are people doing? People are going to think I don’t know.”

I've done yoga many times, but I still look at people and I’m like, “Am I doing the right thing?” I see it as something normal and I truly don’t care, but at the beginning, I felt so out of the water. It didn’t mean that that wasn’t aligned with me or that was a negative step to take. It meant I was getting my feet wet and I was understanding the water temperature. I wanted to understand the nature of yoga and I wanted to do it well. It was something positive for my health and something that I truly enjoyed. It wasn’t anything negative. It is that you are doing something for the first time.

I remember when I quit corporate in April 2021. I remember that year, I started my show and launched a digital course. I had my one-on-one coaching clients. I started my weekly newsletter. I don’t know how I did so many things, but I started everything and anything. My digital course is called the Discover Your Purpose Program. It was something that I truly wanted to work on and launch. It took so much effort. You have no idea. It took hours. When you put so much effort into something, you want that thing to go well.

At the same time, I was learning the marketing aspect and the sales aspect. I did this strategy, which I learned from one of my marketing mentors, called pre-selling your course. When the iPhone is going to launch a new version, they pre-sell the iPhone even before you get it in person. It’s the same thing with books. When authors are doing marketing campaigns for a book, sometimes, they’re selling the books a year in advance when the book is not even published. It’s a normal strategy.

I remember having this strategy ready that I’m going to pre-sell my digital course, and I’m like, “What the heck am I doing? Who the heck do I think I am? I’ve never done this. I’ve never created a digital course. I’ve never sold a digital course. What if no one buys it?” That is always a concern. I was like, “What if there is no engagement?”

It was the first time I was launching and creating this digital course. You don’t have an idea. I was freaking out the day before I pre-launched this digital course. It wasn’t because this wasn’t an aligned step or this was something bad, but it was because there was also so much vulnerability in this process of being seen and this potential failure.

Part of entrepreneurship is failing forward. This is full of lessons. It was the unknown. I’m like, “How is this going to go? Are people going to be interested? I don’t know what I’m doing.” It was this nerve-wracking feeling of doing something for the first time and knowing that I had never done it before, so I felt like an imposter. That is normal. The first time you’re about to do something, it doesn’t matter how aligned it is with you. It doesn’t matter how much you love it. You are going to feel fear. It’s natural to feel like an imposter. I want you to know that.


The first time you're about to do something, no matter how aligned it is with you or how much you love it, you're going to feel fear, and it's natural to feel like an impostor.


I want to give you another example. I worked for Accenture. That was the last company I worked for, which I love. I truly loved the people and the culture. I had an amazing experience. I don’t have any complaints. I worked for Accenture, and then I quit again. It was not because I hated my job or anything. I quit because I was moving towards a bigger and greater aspiration, which was being my full-time coaching and speaking business.

In 2023, they invited me to speak to the group that I left and I was so excited. I love speaking. Speaking engagements are my thing. I love preparing, thinking about all the content, thinking about the delivery, and all of those things. I’ve been speaking since 2013. In corporate, I would be speaking left and right to 100 people or 200 people because I was leading several organizations. I was also the president of Toastmasters, so I spoke a lot.

All of that to say, speaking is not something that makes me nervous, but this speaking engagement, which was me going back to my former employer which I quit from there, I was so nervous. I was like, “What is going on? Like, why am I feeling like this?” It was pure survival mode. It was the first thing I had gone back to. I was speaking to their employees, but not only that, but I was introducing myself as someone who quit to pursue their passion and their purpose. Thankfully, Accenture, their leadership is very progressive and supportive and they introduced me that way.

It was natural and normal, but my mind was running through all of these scenarios. I was like, “What am I thinking? Who do I think I am to go back to this company and speak to the employees?” It was such a weird experience for me because even though speaking, I’ve done it for a long time, going back to a company for me was the first time. Even though everyone was so nice there, it was an emotional thing for me. I understood that it was normal to feel that way.

I had the weirdest thoughts. I’m like, “What if I say I cannot go?” When you are in these situations, your mind is going to try to find ways to get you out of it so you stay in your comfort zone. These are irrational thoughts. This is not anything I followed through or I did, but I’m being vulnerable. I’m giving you those examples so you know you are not alone. I ended up having the speaking engagement. I had a blast. I enjoyed it so much. I had an amazing time. I was scared before going there, which mentally doesn’t make any sense, but emotionally, it is normal for you to feel that way. That’s number one when you are about to do something for the first time.

When Outcomes Don't Meet Your Expectations

The second one is when your outcomes are not meeting your expectations. For example, you are trying something and you are putting all of your effort. Maybe you are organizing a workshop. You are organizing an event in your company or as a business owner. You market and put in all of this effort, and then the number of attendees doesn’t equal the effort you put in. I’ve felt like this. I have a business. I’m a coach and speaker. In business, you have a lot of potential leads. Sometimes, leads will say yes, and sometimes, leads will say no. Sometimes, you as a coach also decide whether or not that person is a right fit for you. There is a little bit of everything.


I remember the past times in my business when I was on a discovery call and I was like, “This is a good potential client,” and that person, for whatever reason, said no. I then have another one and that person says no. I’m like, “Why is this happening?” I start feeling like an imposter. I’m like, “Is this me? Do I know what I’m doing? Am I a good coach?”

When your outcomes do not match your expectations, it is natural that you start questioning yourself and feeling like an imposter. Let me tell you. Based on my experience, the times that have happened, what comes after is a lot better. It’s a matter of trusting the process. I always remind myself of this because the times that I’ve had 4 noes, then I get 6 yeses back to back. It’s part of the business. It’s part of the process.

The same thing happens wherever you are in your career. That may be with promotions or something that you have to be a little bit more patient in waiting. It may be with a romantic relationship where you’re like, “My partner is not paying attention to me.” Maybe he’s planning a surprise. We never know. It’s part of also trusting that process.

Even though those outcomes do not match your expectations, always give 100% of the effort. When you hit a low, a high is coming up. Those lows are temporary. When we are in those lows in our lives, whatever context of life we are talking about here, it can be family, romantic relationships, or health, there is naturally a high because everything in life is temporary. The lows are temporary and the highs are temporary too. It’s part of this process of consistent evolution or constant learning. That’s scenario number two. It’s normal to feel the imposter syndrome or when your outcomes do not match your expectations and then you start questioning yourself .

Fall Off Track

The third one is when you fall off track with your goals and habits. Maybe you have been meditating for the last 22 days and something happens and you fall off track. I’ve had many clients who are amazingly consistent. Sometimes, something happens in their life and they fall off track for 1 to 2 days. They are so hard on themselves. They are like, “I went back all the way.  Everything I’ve done is completely erased.” I’m like, “It’s fine to feel like an imposter or you’re falling behind when you have fallen off track.”

Falling off track is a sign that you are on track because falling off track means that you’re trying something new or you’re trying something for the first time. You’re implementing a habit that is not subconscious yet. Therefore, you have to put in that consistent willpower and consistent effort. It’s normal that at times, you are going to fall off track. I t’s a part of life. The important element here is to always get back on. Resilience is your superpower.


At times, you're going to fall off track. It's normal, and it's a part of life. The important thing is to always get back on track.


This is something that I always do, and I coach my clients on this. Whenever we fall off track, which is part of life, it is so important to connect back to your why. Why are you doing this in the first place? In my coaching, I do this after the breakthrough session. It is an in-depth session where we release all the limiting beliefs and all the subconscious blocks so clients can start with a clean slate, and then we clearly define their long-term direction and purpose. Everything else, the goals and habits, they need to fit in within the long-term direction. It is flexible enough that many things can fit in there, but they have to be aligned to that why.

When we fall off track and we don’t connect to that why, it is really hard to regain momentum. It is mega important that whatever habits you are working with and whatever goals you are striving to achieve, there is a big enough why. That is so when you fall off track, you can make a reference to that, reconnect to that purpose, and get back on. In those moments when you fall off track, it is normal to feel like an imposter. It’s normal to feel, “What am I doing? Is this what I want to do?” It’s normal to question yourself in the journey because that’s how you continue to evolve. How you get to your goals and dreams always remains flexible.

Women In Cycle

The last one is for all my females. We all go through this. There is a moment in the month when we might get emotional. It is normal. I love this book. There is an author called Alisa Vitti. She talks about how so many people see women’s cycle and women’s menstruation as a hormonal disadvantage, but it’s a hormonal advantage. We got to learn how to harness those stages of our cycles of the month in order for us to leverage that power within us and take control.


Sometimes, when we are in the cycle and we feel emotional, that is a time to be super compassionate with ourselves. That is a time when sometimes, we might doubt ourselves and we might feel like an imposter. That’s normal. It has happened to me. Not long ago, one of my clients asked me, “I’m in my cycle and I’m struggling with unpleasant emotions. How do I navigate those emotions?” I’m going to make an episode about this because I get this question so often.

When you are there, it’s normal to feel like an imposter. I want you to be compassionate, loving, and nurturing because that is not the time to go into full discovery mode. That is the time to slow down, step back, and truly pamper yourself. When you’re in your cycle, to all the amazing women out there, thanks to that, we are able to create. I truly see it as a hormonal advantage. We have to understand the stages of how we can leverage that power to show up even more empowered, if that makes sense.

Those are the four scenarios when it’s normal to feel like an imposter. I hope this was super helpful. A part of this episode is to give you permission to accept what is and not create aversion every time you feel self-doubt or every time you feel like an imposter. The more aversion to those feelings we create, the more we attract them. The key here is to recognize how you’re feeling, understand that under these scenarios, it is normal, and look at that fear or that unpleasant emotion as information that we are going in the right direction.

If this episode was helpful or valuable to you, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or whatever platform you’re using. This helps us so much to reach even more people like you. You can share it with your friends, family, and whoever needs to hear this message because many times, we feel alone when we experience these feelings of inadequacy. It doesn’t matter your experience. I’ve taken so many trainings. I have so many skills. We are still human beings. We have to be compassionate with ourselves. I’ll see you again next time. Thank you so much for tuning in. Bye.


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